TBR: Novellas in November (2018)

This year I am planning on participating in Novellas in November. You can find an overview of the history of this event and further links on Laura’s blog.

There are two (main) reasons why I am trying to participate in Novellas in November:

  1. One of my reading resolutions was to read more novellas this year. I haven’t really done that.
  2. My reading has been super slow these last few weeks.

I am not very good at TBRs (which is why I have stopped setting myself any), so I will have to wait and see how it goes this month, but I do have a few novellas I want to get to. I will try to read as many as possible in a single sitting in the hopes of getting into the groove of reading again.

35954933The Strange Bird by Jeff VanderMeer

I adore Jeff VanderMeer’s writing and own a few books of his that I haven’t read, but for some reason I have not picked any of his books up in months. Crossing this one off my TBR would be ace.

25667918Binti by Nnedi Okorafor

I have heard amazing things about this series, but I also DNFed one of Nnedi Okorafor’s other books (man, that one was disappointingly romance heavy). I want to like her writing more than I do, I think. But, this is less than 100 pages long and will hopefully be as great as everybody says it is.

22359316Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck

I would be nice to have read at least one classic book this year. I have neglected older books altogether this year and maybe that is a mistake. I have not read any Steinbeck but I have the nagging feeling that I would adore his work if I just got off my butt and actually read one of his books

32606889The Lamb Will Slaughter the Lion by Margaret Killjoy

This sounds SO brilliant. And creepy. And disturbing. I was super excited when I bought it and really should get to it before the year ends.

 

35519101Rogue Protocol: The Murderbot Diaries #3 by Martha Wells

I have read the first two in the series earlier this year and really enjoy the characters and the humor. It is just fluffy enough to hopefully sooth my reading despair.

Are you planning of participating in Novellas in November? What are your reading plans in general?

Advertisements

TBR: The last three month of the year (a male author selection)

I will only be reading books written by women and non-binary people next year. It seemed like a good idea when I decided on that a few months ago. My reading taste leans towards books written by women anyways and I got so annoyed at the articles proclaiming that men don’t read women – and being the good economist I am, I decided to show the market that I can do that as well – I mean being a woman and only reading women.

There are a few books that I am fairly hyped about that I won’t get to next year, but I figure waiting a few months before I read them won’t kill me. But, and this is the idea behind this post, I own a few books written by men that I do want to get to before the beginning of the year. So I will try to read them in the next few months (I have not been following any TBRs whatsoever, so we will have to wait and see whether I actually do read them). Here are some books I am excited about, in no particular order.

Kings of the Wyld by Nicholas Eames

Children of Time by Adrian Tchaikovsky

Acceptance by Jeff VanderMeer

The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Don’t Call Us Dead by Danez Smith

A Lucky Man by Jamel Brinkley

Reservoir 13 by Jon McGregor

number9dream by David Mitchell

Please get me excited about these books because they are all books I am sure I will enjoy (probably love) but some of them have been on my shelves for over a year. And if I don’t pick them up in the next three months, they will gather dust on my TBR shelf for longer still.

Recommendations: short books

I have not made a secret of my love for short books. I love it when an author can blow my mind in under 200 pages. As I have not been able to read as much recently, I treasure these books even more. I obviously also love these long immersive books that envelope you completely, but I will talk about those at some other point.

Here are some of my favourite short books:

Heart Berries by Terese Mailhot (published by Counterpoint Press; 143 pages)

35840657I adored everything about this book: it is honest and raw and brutal and stunningly written. I could not lift my eyes from the page and clutched it close to me when finishing it. My review can be found here.

 

 

Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer (published by Fourth Estate; 195 pages)

25970139I love Jeff VanderMeer’s craft in general, but here in this short, confusing, wonderful book it is on full display. Every sentence is perfect, the atmosphere is out of this world immersive, and I have not been able to stop thinking about it. My review is here.

 

 

May We Shed These Human Bodies by Amber Sparks (published by Curbside Splendor; 150 pages)

15701573Amber Sparks writes my favourite type of short stories. Slightly otherworldly, slightly fantastical, very beautifully written, very feminist. She is apparently working on a new collection (influenced by #MeToo) and I CANNOT wait. If you like short stories at all, I cannot recommend her work highly enough. My review can be found here.

 

Kassandra by Christa Wolf (Suhrkamp Verlag; 178 pages)

4412083No list of mine would be complete without shouting about this book, one of my very favourites. I have talked extensively how wonderful this book is; how every sentence packs a punch. How not a word is misplaced. How much of a genius Christa Wolf is. How woefully underrated she is outside of Germany (I had to read her for my A-Levels and will forever be glad to have been able to dissect her words). You can find my review here.

 

The Vegetarian by Han Kang (Portobello Books; 183 pages)

27191166Much like Christa Wolf, Han Kang has a brilliant way with words where every word is placed with much care and every sentence is stunning beyond words. I adored this book and enjoyed The White Book immensely and one of the reasons for that is her economical way with language.

 

What are your favourite short books? Do you prefer short or long books?

Book vs Movie: Annihilation by Jeff VanderMeer

It is no secret how much I admire Jeff VanderMeer’s craft and his book Annihilation in particular. It even made my Best of the Year list last year. I was beyond excited to watch the movie (I really love Natalie Portman) and finally got around to watching it.

25970139First things first, I am not in the “The book is always better than the movie” camp – because have you seen the glory that is Stardust? Or read the mess that is Gone With The Wind (I might have an unpopular opinion here)? I find that the two mediums can do different things and should be judged accordingly.

But, in this case I do think the book is better. I was sceptical whether the dread and confusion of the book could be transported to the screen and apparently rightfully so. While I thought the movie was visually stunning and wonderfully acted, I did not find the experience as mesmerizing as the book. I am fine with the changes made (for the most part) because they felt true if not for Annihilation than for Jeff VanderMeer’s body of work in general.The creatures felt right and worked well for the visuals of the movie. I am not so happy with the changes made for the main character who felt like a very different person. Natalie Portman, as always, was convincing and a joy to watch but I am not sure whether the changes really were necessary.

mv5bmtk2mjc2nzyxnl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmta2ota1ndm-_v1_sy1000_cr006401000_al_I thought the pacing of the movie was a bit wonky, especially in the middle, but can forgive that given the stunning conclusion that felt every bit as weird and psychedelic as necessary given the

My main gripe is the lack of trust given to the audience. One of my favourite things about Jeff VanderMeer’s books is that he trusts his readers to follow him and to draw their own conclusions. The movie did that to a certain degree but at some points felt it necessary to explain things to the audience that would be better left unsaid.

But, overall, I had a lot of fun watching the movie and thought it well worth my time. I thought it looked different enough to be exciting and weird enough to mostly fit the book.

Have you seen the movie and read the book? What were your thoughts? What are your thoughts on movie adaptations?

 

2018 Book Haul #2: I want to own all the memoirs.

I have not bought any books since I posted my last haul, so obviously I just went overboard and purchased too many. Now, to be fair to myself, I have been craving memoirs and essay collections and hardly own any anymore that I haven’t read, so I had to remedy that. Also, as I have recently talked about, I just love owning books.

And now, without further ado, here are the books I bought, first fiction, then nonfiction (but in no particular order):

When I hit you: or, A Portrait of the Writer as a Young Wife by Meena Kandasamy

38821165Blurb: Seduced by politics and poetry, the unnamed narrator falls in love with a university professor and agrees to be his wife, but what for her is a contract of love is for him a contract of ownership. As he sets about reducing her to his idealised version of a kept woman, bullying her out of her life as an academic and writer in the process, she attempts to push back – a resistance he resolves to break with violence and rape.

Smart, fierce and courageous When I Hit You is a dissection of what love meant, means and will come to mean when trust is undermined by violence; a brilliant, throat-tightening feminist discourse on battered faces and bruised male egos; and a scathing portrait of traditional wedlock in modern India.

Why I bought it: This is one of the few books on this year’s Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist that I am actually interested in and don’t own already. Also, that title is just brilliant. Continue reading “2018 Book Haul #2: I want to own all the memoirs.”

Thoughts: On genre distinctions

As probably everybody knows now, I am trying to read more science fiction this year. I have started to collect books I want to read this year. While doing some research on what I want to read I stumbled on one particular road block: genre distinctions. Which got me thinking.

There are some books that are obviously science fiction (like the Expanse series by James S. A. Corey, or the Imperial Ladch trilogy by Ann Leckie) but quite often I am not sure what genre a book really fits in. Which I love by t25970139he way. I adore books that straddle the line between different genres and mix different tropes inherent to them. But it makes deciding what counts towards this goal a bit tricky. For example, I have been reading the Southern Reach trilogy by Jeff VanderMeer and hope to finish it this month. Does this count as science fiction 34368756or is it more of a dystopian novel? The same question works for the first book of his that I read: Borne. What makes a novel dystopian as opposed to science fiction? I mean, obviously there is a certain degree of pessimism involved. Dystopia takes trends from today and thinks them to their (inevitable?) extreme. But doesn’t science fiction often do something similar? One can argue that science fiction focusses science and creates a world based on this. But then again, does it have to be science as in inventions or can it not also focus social sciences and their possible differentiations? Arguably, this is what Becky Chambers does; sure her books feature scientific inventions but the focus is more on the different social structures of the different groups and their interactions.

Science fiction is not the only genre where I struggle with genre distinctions; another is magical realism. Sure there are typical examples that can be used to extrapolate what magical realism has to be like (Gabriel Garcia Marquez comes to mind) but newer magical realism does not always fit neatly into these ideas. When does magical realism become urban fantasy? And when does urban fantasy become paranormal? And when does paranormal become paranormal romance?

Genre fiction is not the only time I wonder: when does general fiction become literary fiction? Also, who decides how a book is marketed? I am sure there are lots of studies done on whose work is classified as literary and whose isn’t. (Please do link me some articles if you know of any)

It doesn’t always matter to me but I do like to put my books into nice little shelves on goodreads and I do like knowing what genres I read the most of.

What are your thoughts? How do you differentiate between similar genres? Does it even matter to you?

2018 Book Haul #1: I bought too many books

Oh boy, it has been a while since I have done one of these posts and well, let’s just say, I bought way too many books. Which on the one hand is super cool because I like books and I like owning them and looking at them, but on the other hand, I am not making it any easier for me to choose which book to read next. I have also recently written a blogpost about the novellas I bought. I obviously feel like reading genre fiction and memoirs more than anything else.

These are the (physical) books I have bought:

I Am, I Am, I Am by Maggie O’Farrell

34666764Blurb: I AM, I AM, I AM is a memoir with a difference – the unputdownable story of an extraordinary woman’s life in near-death experiences. Intelligent, insightful, inspirational, it is a book to be read at a sitting, a story you finish newly conscious of life’s fragility, determined to make every heartbeat count.

A childhood illness she was not expected to survive. A teenage yearning to escape that nearly ended in disaster. A terrifying encounter on a remote path. A mismanaged labour in an understaffed hospital. Shocking, electric, unforgettable, this is the extraordinary memoir from Costa Novel-Award winner and Sunday Times bestselling author Maggie O’Farrell.
It is a book to make you question yourself. What would you do if your life was in danger, and what would you stand to lose?

Why I Bought This: I have been wanting to read this FOREVER and was declined for an ARC more than once. But, now I own it, and it is pretty, and I cannot wait to read this.

Continue reading “2018 Book Haul #1: I bought too many books”